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Information Collected and Stored Automatically
SBA.gov automatically collects some technical information from you when you visit the site in order to give you the best possible experience. SBA.gov uses web measurement technology (Google Analytics) to automatically track how visitors interact with SBA.gov including where they came from, what they did on the site and whether they completed any pre-determined tasks while on the site. This type of usage is classified by the Office of Management and Budget as Tier 2 usage since it is a multi-session web measurement. Aggregate data is used to help SBA improve our user interface and diversify our content offerings to meet the needs of our customers, track operational problems, prevent fraud and improve the effectiveness, security and integrity of the site. This information does not identify you personally and data is only retained in accordance with the SBA data retention policy. For each page that you visit, we collect and store only the following technical information:
- Date and time of access
- URL address of the SBA.gov webpage visited
- Internet domain and IP address from which our website was accessed
- Type of browser and operating system used to access our site (if provided by the browser)
- URL address of the referring page (if provided by the browser)
- Completion or success status of the request for a web page or other on-line item
- File size of the webpage visited
This information is only used to help us make the site more useful for you. With this data we learn about the number of visitors to our site and the types of technology our visitors use. We never track or record information about individuals and their visits and we do not share this data with anyone outside the SBA unless necessary for law enforcement purposes.
There are two types of cookies. A session cookie is a line of text that is stored temporarily in your web browser’s memory cache, and will expire when the browser is closed. A session cookie is not placed on any hard drive, and it is destroyed as soon as you close your browser. A persistent cookie is saved to a file on your hard drive and is accessed whenever you re-visit the website that put it there. This lets that website remember what you were interested in the last time you visited.
We use persistent cookies to enable Google Analytics to differentiate between new and returning SBA.gov visitors. Persistent cookies remain on your computer between visits to SBA.gov until they expire. We also use persistent cookies to block repeated invitations to take the customer satisfaction survey. The persistent cookies that block repeated survey invitations expire in 90 days.
The U.S. Small Business Administration may utilize third party services to enhance its distribution of data and information (e.g., videos) through links from the SBA.gov web site. A persistent cookie may be set by such a third party provider when you click on the provider's link in order to access U.S. Small Business Administration data (e.g., play a video).
By default, persistent cookies and web measurement technologies are automatically used when you visit SBA.gov. Nevertheless, if you decide to disable or remove cookies from your browser, you will continue to have access to all information and resources on SBA.gov. To learn more about how to disable cookies in your browser please visit http://www.usa.gov/optout_instructions.shtml
Information Collected from Interactive Forms and Surveys
SBA.gov provides interactive forms that let you voluntarily submit personal information (such as your e-mail address, name, or organization). This occurs when you register to join an online community to submit information to web discussion forums, blogs and other community features; registering to receive e-mail updates and newsletters; and sending questions and comments to the SBA.gov team. In these cases, all submitted information is used only for the express purposes for which it is provided, and is not made available to any third party.
SBA.gov only shares information you voluntarily provide with other government agencies if required by law. SBA.gov never collects information or creates individual profiles for commercial marketing. However, when you join an online community and participate in online discussions, your name and other personal information you provide (except e-mail) are viewable by anyone visiting SBA.gov, unless you choose not share this information with the public on your user profile page. Any personal information you provide will be protected to the extent permissible under the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act.
Electronically submitted information is maintained and destroyed according to the principles of the Federal Records Act and the regulations and records schedules of the National Archives and Records Administration, and in some cases may be covered by the Privacy Act and subject to the Freedom of Information Act. A discussion of your rights under these laws can be found on the Freedom of Information Act home page.
SBA may also use online survey instruments to obtain feedback on your experience with SBA.gov. The survey initiation pops up for a random sample of visitors, is voluntary and does not collect personal information. If you decline the survey you will still have access to the same information and resources of SBA.gov as those who do take the survey. The survey reports are available only to SBA.gov managers and other staff who require this information to perform their duties. The SBA retains the data from the survey results in accordance with its data retention policy.
Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)
The E-Government Act requires agencies to conduct privacy impact assessments for collections of information through electronic information systems or otherwise and make them publicly available.
Because we care about the safety and privacy of children online, we comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). COPPA and its accompanying regulations protect the privacy of children using the Internet. SBA.gov does not knowingly contact or collect personal information from children under 13. SBA.gov is not intended to solicit information of any kind from children under 13.
It is possible that by fraud or deception we may receive information pertaining to children under 13. If we are notified of this, as soon as we verify the information, we will immediately obtain parental consent or otherwise delete the information from our servers. If you want to notify us of our receipt of information by children under 13, please do so by sending an e-mail to the SBA Answer Desk.
For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, this government computer system employs commercial software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.
Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, no attempts are made to identify individual users and their usage habits. Raw data logs are used for no other purposes and are scheduled for regular destruction in accordance with National Archives and Records Administration General Schedule 20.
Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and the National Information Infrastructure Protection Act.
Social Media and Third Party Websites
The SBA uses some social media tools and websites to interact with its customers and resource partners. Social media websites are used to publicize SBA programs and services and engage with members of the public. The SBA does not use third party websites to solicit and collect personal information from individuals. Any personal information collected by a third party website will not be transmitted to SBA unless required for law enforcement purposes or as otherwise permitted by law. SBA’s privacy and other web policies do not apply to these third party sites and we encourage you to read the policies of the third party site when deciding whether to use it. The official SBA “social media” sites are listed below.
Links to Other Sites
Please visit SBA.gov’s Linking Policy for more information about the linking policies of SBA.gov.
This policy was updated on May 24, 2011.